The world has never been short of great ideas and inventions are born of bright minds and some hijacked garage space. Sadly, many of the best ideas never see the light of day because our education systems were short on providing aspiring inventors, engineers, and builders the opportunities and a platform to bring their projects to life.
Fortunately, the past decade has seen explosive growth in STEM education in progressive schools, as theoretical textbook knowledge is being replaced by experiential, project-based learning. When students shaped by this innovative learning ecosystem join the workforce, they are scaling new heights to help transform our manufacturing processes as well. Where appropriate, additive manufacturing technologies like 3D printing are now replacing traditional methods to bring more flexibility, design innovation, and cost savings to production processes.
True innovation knows no boundaries. The global trend of 3D printing innovations and Additive Technologies has not bypassed Russia. Thanks to the government’s remarkable focus on acceleration and development of digital technologies like robotics and AR, there is a booming demand for greater education and training in the areas of additive manufacturing and robotics. The state program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation,” launched in 2017, includes multiple robotics and 3D printing initiatives helping to refine and automate Russian industrial processes to match the trend as benchmarked by the US, Asia and the rest of Europe.
“It really helped that the site had a detailed instructional video for reference at any point of operation.”
– Valery, Lift3.0
One leading example is the engineering center Lift 3.0, a Raise3D client that works through our partner 3D Mall. Project Lift 3.0 is known to all the League of Robots in Moscow and St. Petersburg and has a two-fold business approach.
1) It services the technical and commercial needs of the market by providing small and mid-sized businesses custom 3D printing and technical design solutions.
2) It also strives to stimulate interest in engineering and innovation by simplifying the launch and development of technical projects. The center has all the necessary equipment, including the 3D printer: Raise3D Pro2.
Alexander, Head of Engineering, and Valery, Lead Engineer at Lift3.0, talk to Raise3D about their success with 3D printing education and some interesting 3D projects in video gaming, biotech, and cosplay.
Raise3D- Tell us about your center, Lift 3.0
Lift3.0: Project Lift 3.0 is an engineering center founded on the idea that pupils, students and recent graduates of technical universities can not just be mentors to younger students, but also be able to meet the demand for complex technical development and create products that will excite the market. If you give them a mentor to help them to understand the commercial needs of the market, provide equipment and freedom of experimentation, then they may create something truly amazing. The well-developed ecosystem within the League of Robots helps a lot. We have formed a large community, with hundreds of students and operating engineers throughout the country who believe in the value of creating something new.
“It [Raise3D Pro2] withstood a month of almost non-stop printing and didn’t need any maintenance.”
– Valery, Lift3.0
Raise3D – With the center’s large fleet of professional equipment like 3D printers, scanners, CNC machines, etc., are you engaged in the production of complex models, prototypes or products?
Lift3.0: At our own expense and through State support programs of small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs), we purchased quite a lot of professional equipment. First, we focused on the “iron” projects, so we bought 2 CNC mills, a laser cutter, lathe, laboratory of electronics, 3D printers, a variety of hand tools, and created eight different classes for students.
We create prototypes of almost anything. After completing one order for the development of wireless systems in intellectual games – we identified a trend in interactive entertainment props and turned to 3D printing to execute them.
Diversified 3D Printing and FFF/FDM Technology
Raise3D: What challenges are associated with your clients? Overall what services do they demand?
Lift3.0: Basically, our clients are heads of small and medium-sized companies looking for a way to add uniqueness to their business or to improve operations utilizing technical devices. Some of our recent 3D printed projects are in
1) Exclusive interactive event equipment
2) Creating Augmented Reality AR for books, magazines, and instructional material
3) 3D printed souvenirs and decor.
Raise3D – Among your arsenal of equipment, there are several 3D printers. Do you have FDM/FFF printers or a photopolymer?
Lift3.0: Out of 8 3D printers, we only have one photopolymer, but there has yet to be a need for it. As for the FFF printer- previously, all were printed on a BQ Witbox 2, although we recently purchased a brand new Raise3D Pro2 and found it to be a great asset.
Applications, Benefits, and Challenges of 3D Printing
Raise3D – For what purpose do you mostly use 3D hardware?
Lift3.0: We use it to create individual housings for devices, non-standard fasteners, and mechanical joints. Now, for example, we are carrying out orders for the development of a prototype for surgeons and also print moving parts for the company “WOW! Cosplay” (we design and build the props, animatronics and technically difficult parts). Besides, we are partnered with the company Meganium to print a 2-meter alien for a Museum exhibit. Something a Raise3D Pro2 Plus large volume printer can easily execute.
Check out Lift3.0 project video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDk28PFYEpg&feature=emb_title
Raise3D- What criteria did you use in choosing a 3D printer?
Lift3.0: Firstly, we were interested in having a larger print area. Before purchasing the Raise3D Pro2, we would have to assemble and then glue the item after printing it in pieces, but it’s much more efficient to have the object printed in one piece. It saves us a lot of time and effort!
Second, we needed a printer capable of printing with two filaments. Raise3D fits both of these parameters.
Raise3D – In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of using Raise3D?
Lift3.0: Pros: To start working was easy enough, given that this is not our first printer. It really helped that the site had a detailed instructional video for reference at any point of operation. I was impressed with its factory settings and build quality. As soon as we acquired Raise3D Pro2, it was loaded and withstood a month of almost non-stop printing and didn’t need any maintenance.
“I was impressed with its factory settings and build quality”
– Valery, Lift3.0
Lift3.0: The Pro2 is a very quiet printer. Probably the quietest out of all the printers we use. Also, the advantages of the Raise3D Pro2 Series include large printing area, remote management, administration and protection, private cloud storage, protection from power outages and a security camera.
It’s a very quiet printer. Probably the quietest out of all the printers we use.”
– Valery, Lift3.0
Raise3D: Do problems often arise when printing with the printer or with the quality of the models?
Lift3.0: The first time printing, there was an issue with the firmware and the nozzle height. However, after updating the firmware, the problem was solved. The prints are often faced with a backlog of supports. Over a large area, they are deformed so these models have to print using substrates.
We also had difficulty with the temperature of the nozzle and the table during operation. Print quality is good even with relatively high layers.
Raise3D – What nozzle do you use most often? What kind of plastic? Do you often print with 2 extruders?
Lift3.0: We are using the standard 0.4 mm nozzle that came with Raise3D. But we think we should change to a larger diameter to increase printing speed.
Materials that we often use for 3D printing are ABS and PLA. We have also been experimenting with Flex Hard and SBS.
If there is a need to reduce costs, we print using 2 extruders: one extruder prints the main expensive plastic, the second prints support plastic, which is cheaper. And, of course, classic print, which uses two colors simultaneously.
“The advantages of the Raise3D Pro2 Series include: large printing area, remote management, administration and protection, private cloud storage, protection from power outages and a security camera.”
– Valery, Lead Engineer, Lift3.0
Raise3D: What are your feelings about Raise3D slicer software ideaMaker?
Lift3.0: This[Ideamaker] is a very interesting program, more convenient to use than Cura. We like that the program can calculate the cost and correct the model errors. It also has a built-in download, video, and printer setup, which is very convenient. However, it could use more explanation of some of the settings profiles. Also, there is no automatic “Romania” detail on the angled plan when the figure is rotated to a more convenient position.
(Raise3D: Take a look at some of the great features of Raise3D patented software Ideamaker and get a free download here. You’re welcome!)
“We like that the program can calculate the cost and correct the model errors. It also has a built-in download video and printer setup, which is very convenient.”
Raise3D – What, in your opinion, is the most pronounced advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing compared to more traditional methods of production?
Lift3.0: Printers significantly simplify the manufacturing of models, needing only a few hours to print something while another method would require a few days. Not to mention the accuracy wouldn’t be nearly as precise as 3D printing! Of course, there are also disadvantages. They are mainly related to limitations in the performance properties of the resulting parts and the limits on size.
Raise3D: Have you managed to facilitate/speed up the execution of any task with the introduction of 3D-printers?
Lift3.0: Definitely! Printers remove a huge number of questions. This is especially true of printing using two extruders. With their help, you can create very complex shapes.
“Printers significantly simplify the manufacturing of models, needing only a few hours to print something while another method would require a few days. Not to mention the accuracy wouldn’t be nearly as precise as 3D printing!”
Lift 3.0 has been using Raise3D 3D printers, and ideaMaker, to educate students on the advantages of 3D printing. By showing students how Raise3D printers can be used to print monsters and for cosplay, as well as to help them learn, students are being prepared for a bright future.